U.S. death rate from cancer is dropping

Source: www.webpronews.com Author: Sean Patterson Though cancer hasn’t been completely cured, it’s clear that treatments for the disease have improved over the past two decades. A yearly report from the American Cancer Society has shown that the death rate from cancer in the U.S. is declining among all Americans and for the most common types of cancer. The report, published recently in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, shows that the death rate from all cancers combined has been falling since the early 1990. From 2000 to 2009, combined cancer death rates have fallen an average of 1.8% among men and 1.4% among women. Black men and black women saw the largest declines in cancer deaths from 2000 to 2009, though their cancer death rates from 2005 to 2009 were still highest when compared to other racial groups. Though death rates for cancers such as lung cancer , breast cancer, and colon cancer are declining, the rate of diagnoses for some cancers is increasing. The rate of new cases of pancreas, kidney, thyroid, liver, melanoma, and myeloma cancers have all increased in men from 2000 to 2009. For women, rates of new cases of thyroid, melanoma, kidney, pancreas, liver, leukemia, and uterus cancers increased during the same period. The report points out that excess weight and lack of physical activity are risk factors for many of these cancers. “The continuing drop in cancer mortality over the past two decades is reason to cheer,” said John Seffrin, CEO of the [...]

Team approach improves oral cancer outcomes

Source: www.drbicuspid.com Author: Donna Domino, Features Editor Providence Cancer Center in Portland, OR, is one of a growing number of facilities that is working to improve care for patients with oral cancer and head and neck cancers through a multidisciplinary program that brings together a spectrum of treatment providers. To illustrate the challenges many oral cancer patients face, R. Bryan Bell, MD, DDS, medical director of the Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Program at Providence, described the extreme effects the illness and its treatment had on one of his patients. The woman had undergone surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation for her oral cavity cancer. "This was a beautiful 32-year-old woman who had lost all her teeth and couldn't chew," Dr. Bell told DrBicuspid.com. "She had aged about 40 years during treatment, and she just looked awful. But she had no means of affording needed dental rehabilitation, which would have cost about $60,000. People need to see what happens when you don't restore these patients." Dr. Bell used the woman's case to convince officials at Providence Health, which oversees the medical center, of the need for a multidisciplinary approach for these patients. The new cancer treatment center, which opened last month, is a unique collaboration between dental and medical oncology specialists. The center provides coordinated care for oral cancer patients who often need expensive and complex dental rehabilitation, regardless of their ability to pay, according to Dr. Bell. His team includes head and neck surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, otolaryngologists, neuro-otologists, [...]

Quitting smoking before cancer surgery best, study finds

Source: health.usnews.com Author: staff Cancer patients who smoked up until their surgery were more likely to take up the habit again compared to those who quit earlier, a new study finds. The study from the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., included lung cancer and head and neck cancer patients who quit smoking before or immediately after surgery. They were followed for a year after the surgery. "Sixty percent of patients who smoked during the week prior to surgery resumed smoking afterward, contrasted with a 13 percent relapse rate for those who had quit smoking prior to surgery," study corresponding author Vani Nath Simmons said in a Moffitt news release. The significantly lower smoking relapse rate for those who quit smoking before surgery shows the need to encourage patients to quit smoking when they're diagnosed with cancer, the researchers said. The investigators also noted that most of the patients who began smoking again did so shortly after surgery, which shows the importance of anti-smoking programs for patients both before and after surgery. The study also found that patients were more likely to resume smoking if they had a high amount of fear about cancer recurrence, had a higher risk for depression, and were less likely to believe in their ability to quit smoking. "Cancer patients need to know that it's never too late to quit," Simmons said. "Of course, it would be best if they quit smoking before getting cancer; but barring that, they should quit as soon as they [...]

Erbitux add-on falls short in esophageal cancer

Source: www.medpagetoday.com Author: Charles Bankhead, Staff Writer, MedPage Today The addition of a targeted agent to definitive chemoradiation failed to improve survival in an unselected population with esophageal cancer, a randomized trial showed. In fact, patients who received cetuximab (Erbitux) with chemoradiation had significantly worse overall survival (OS) reflected in a 50% increase in the hazard versus chemoradiation alone, reported Thomas Crosby, MD, of Velindre Hospital in Cardiff, Wales, and colleagues. Investigators could not find any subgroup of patients who benefited from cetuximab, they said in a presentation at the Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium. "The addition of cetuximab cannot be recommended to standard definitive chemoradiotherapy in the treatment of unselected patients with esophageal cancer," Crosby said. "The use of high-quality definitive chemoradiotherapy in the treatment of localized, poor-prognosis esophageal cancer was associated with excellent survival compared with previous radiotherapy and surgical series," he added. Randomized trials have shown that definitive (or primary) chemoradiation improves survival in localized esophageal cancer compared with a single treatment modality. In England, definitive chemoradiation has been used primarily for patients with localized disease that is unsuitable for surgery, Crosby said. Add-on therapy with cetuximab has improved outcomes in other cancers, notably head and neck cancer and colorectal cancer. The findings provided a rationale for evaluating the addition of cetuximab to primary radiation therapy for localized esophageal cancer. Crosby presented results of a randomized trial wherein patients with localized (stage I-III) esophageal cancer (less than 10 cm). Patients were excluded if they had celiac lymph-node involvement. The [...]

Should You Get the HPV Vaccine?

You don’t have to be a virgin to be protected against cancer. By Jake Blumgart|Posted Friday, Jan. 25, 2013, at 1:22 PM ET Source: Slate A doctor gives a 13-year-old girl an HPV vaccination Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images. The human papillomavirus has the dubious distinction of being the sexually transmitted disease you are most likely to get. It’s also the leading cause of cervical cancer. January has, somewhat arbitrarily, been dubbed Cervical Health Awareness Month (also National Hobby Month and Hot Tea Month, the last at least for good reason). While cervical cancer is the disease most commonly associated with HPV, a recent report from the American Cancer Society emphasizes that HPV’s threat is not gender-specific or organ-specific. While cervical cancer cases are in decline (as are general cancer rates), cancers linked to HPV are on the rise. The increasing prevalence of HPV-linked cancers should permanently alter our limited conception of the disease as chiefly a women’s issue. Oropharyngeal (which I’ll be vulgarizing as “oral”) and anal HPV-related cancers (which particularly afflict men who have sex with men) are becoming more common. Oral malignancies account for 37.3 percent of HPV-related cancers, edging out cervical cancer, which makes up 32.7 percent. For men, oral cancers make up 78.2 percent of total HPV-related cancer incidences, and they account for 11.6 percent of cases among women. The death rate for oral cancer is three times higher than that for cervical cancer. (About 40 percent of penile cancer cases are HPV-related, but rates [...]

2013-01-28T14:28:34-07:00January, 2013|OCF In The News, Oral Cancer News|

Scientists find new way to boost cancer drugs

Source: www.drbicuspid.com Author: DrBicuspid Staff Shutting down a specific pathway in cancer cells appears to improve the ability of common drugs to wipe those cells out, according to new research from scientists at Fox Chase Cancer Center (Cancer Discovery, January 2013, Vol. 3:1, pp. 96-111). The new approach appears to enhance the tumor-killing ability of a commonly prescribed class of drugs that includes cetuximab (Erbitux), used to treat head and neck cancers. These drugs work by blocking the activity of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), which sits on the cell surface and senses cues from the environment, telling cancer cells to grow and divide, according to co-author Igor Astsaturov, MD, PhD, an attending physician in the department of medical oncology at Fox Chase. In 2010, Dr. Astsaturov and his colleagues identified a pathway in the cell that, when blocked, completely suppressed EGFR activity. Interestingly, the pathway consists of a series of enzymes that, when working in concert, synthesize new molecules of cholesterol. Working with cancer cells in the lab, the researchers inactivated a key gene in the cholesterol synthesis pathway, and found the cells became more vulnerable to treatment with cetuximab. The same was true in mice that lacked this particular pathway, according to Dr. Astsaturov. "Most tumors are only moderately sensitive to inhibitors of EGFR, but when these tumors lack an essential gene in the cholesterol pathway, they become exquisitely sensitive to the anti-EGFR drugs," he said. "The cancers literally melt away in mice." The researchers then removed [...]

‘Dentist should have spotted my cancer’

Source: menmedia.co.uk Author: staff An NHS dentist who advised a patient to treat what turned out to be a life-threatening oral cancer with mouthwash is being sued for tens of thousands of pounds in damages. Paula Drabble, 58, went to Pinfold Dental Practice, in Hattersley, Hyde, in June 2008 with concerns about a white lesion on her gum. She was told by her dentist, Ian Hughes, it was nothing serious, a court heard. Mrs Drabble of Mottram Moor, Mottram, Hyde, had five further appointments with Mr Hughes and was advised to ‘manage’ her complaint with mouthwash. She was eventually referred to hospital in April 2009, and ‘seriously invasive cancer’ diagnosed. She had surgery, including removal of affected bone, followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy. She has now made a good recovery and has begun a High Court fight for damages, claiming Mr Hughes was negligent to have not spotted the cancer and referred her to hospital earlier. Timothy Briden, for Mrs Drabble, told the court his client had developed the patch on her gum some years earlier. The lesion was found to be benign by medics at the University Dental Hospital in Manchester and she was discharged in 2004 with a letter being sent to Mr Hughes, warning him to ‘re-refer if you notice or indeed Mrs Drabble notices any changes’. Marcus Dignum, for Mr Hughes, denied that his client was at fault in failing to spot the cancer. He said: “Plainly the court will have every sympathy with Mrs Drabble [...]

HPV vaccine issue returns to legislature

Source: abcnews4.com Date: January 14, 2013 by Stacy Jacobson CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- A local state representative will introduce a bill that would give middle school students better accessibility to information about the Human Papilloma Virus vaccine and to the vaccine itself. Gov. Nikki Haley vetoed the bill last year. But lawmakers wanted to try again. HPV can cause cervical cancer, as well as head and neck cancer, doctors said. Therese Speer is a mother of three, and grandmother of four. She knew what it was like to worry as a parent. "More information is always a benefit to parents. The more you know, the more informed decision you can make," Speer said. She said she supports a new bill called the Cervical Cancer Prevention Act. Rep. Bakari Sellers (D-90th District) proposed it. "The CDC just stated the cost of cervical cancer in South Carolina is upwards of $25 million. This is something we can head off," Sellers said. The bill would make information about the HPV vaccine more available to seventh grade students. The bill would also allow the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to offer the vaccine through school. "When that information is provided and parents have opportunity to speak to pediatrician about this vaccine, they overwhelmingly accept it," MUSC gynecologic oncologist Dr. Jennifer Young-Pierce said. Officials said the bill had no mandates, only options. "Too often, people get info from friend or Internet that doesn't have the most up-to-date information. This is requiring us to provide information [...]

2013-01-16T11:27:50-07:00January, 2013|Oral Cancer News|

Dysphagia after definitive radiotherapy for head and neck cancer

Source: Strahlentherapie und Onkologie Authors: L. Deantonio MD, L. Masini MD, M. Brambilla PhD, F. Pia MD, M. Krengli MD Background Dysphagia is a complication of head and neck cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy (RT). We analysed frequency and severity of swallowing dysfunction and correlated these findings with dose–volume histograms (DVHs) of the pharyngeal constrictor muscles. Methods A total of 50 patients treated by radical RT were enrolled. DVHs of constrictor muscles were correlated with acute and late dysphagia and with the items of three quality of life questionnaires. Results Mean dose to superior and middle constrictor muscles (SCM, MCM), partial volume of SCM and MCM receiving a dose ≥ 50 Gy dose to the whole constrictor muscles ≥ 60 Gy and tumour location were associated to late dysphagia at univariate analysis. Mean dose to the MCM was the only statistically significant predictor of late dysphagia at the multivariable analysis. Conclusion The study shows a significant relationship between long-term dysphagia and mean doses to SCM, MCM, whole constrictor muscles, and oropharyngeal tumour. This finding suggests a potential advantage in reducing the RT dose to swallowing structures to avoid severe dysphagia.  This article was sourced by The Oral Cancer Foundation and vetted for accuracy and appropriateness.

2013-01-14T20:58:52-07:00January, 2013|Oral Cancer News|

Why can’t doctors tell cancer patients the truth?

Source: SALON.com By: Mary Elizabeth Williams     Medical journals and physicians underplay what treatment is really like. And it hurts patients (Credit: Henk Vrieselaar via Shutterstock) Everyone appreciates a bright perspective, especially in grim circumstances. But you know what’s a really poor arena for downplaying the bad news? Medicine. A new report in the Annals of Oncology this week reveals that in two thirds of breast cancer studies, side effects were downplayed – including serious ones. And, as Reuters reports, it’s a field-wide problem in the health care industry: Last fall, cardiology journal editors warned authors to “watch their language” in reporting, and pediatrics researchers warned of “spin and boasting” in their journals. Aside from the ethical issues of publishing misleading information, the habit of rushing to make it all seem better has serious consequences. Because the sunnyside talk doesn’t stop at the journals. It trickles over to doctors, who then minimize what a patient’s real experience is going to be like. And even without overly optimistic literature to inspire them, doctors and their lack of understanding can be an issue. A 2007 study in the journal Drug Safety found that over 60 percent of patients who complained of side effects to a particular drug said “their doctors did not appreciate the impact the symptoms had on their quality of life.” At the time, health policy professor Albert W. Wu told American Medical News that doctors “have the bad habit of discounting patients’ complaints. In our desire not to worry [...]

2013-01-11T15:03:36-07:00January, 2013|Oral Cancer News|
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